You’ve heard of Christmas in July - well, how about Veteran’s Day in March? That’s how I’ll remember the last week of March. The Alabama Legislature took the last week of March off for Spring Break. I was able to attend several meetings and events across the district last week. On Thursday I was both honored and humbled to participate in the Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s Ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial in Huntsville. Several hundred attended this event. On Saturday I attended the medal ceremony for Cpl Cleveland King. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals for actions in Vietnam in 1968…but never received them. Somehow or another they were lost in the mail and that was corrected 44 years later. The Marines of Rocket Battery K in Huntsville hosted the medal ceremony. It was an awesome event to witness.
Other meetings and events I attended over Spring Break included meetings with the Athens City and Limestone County School Boards, Senator Shelby’s town hall meeting in Athens, and the Monrovia Volunteer Fire Department awards banquet.
The legislature reconvened today, but I left Madison a little after 11:00 on Monday morning, arriving in Montgomery to attend a couple of meetings that afternoon concerning legislation I’m working. I’ll be able to share a little more in the days ahead. We are now in the second half of the 2012 Legislative Session and have much work before us – budgets, redistricting among the biggest items we’ve yet to debate. The Senate went into session at 2 PM today. I spent the morning working on several bills and the Legislative Contract Review agenda; that committee holds its monthly meeting on Thursday. We were only able to pass one bill in the Senate today before the wheels came off; a bill dealing with the budgets and reallocation for the prison system based on the Governor’s recently announced proration to the General Fund…insight to the troubling times ahead regarding the 2013 budgets.
As I’ve discussed before, our state still has a spending problem and I see it every month in Contract Review. I get to see the funding allocated in the General Fund and get to see it obligated in Contract Review – similar to your household, budgeting money for things you’d like to purchase but, months later when it comes time to spend the money (i.e., obligate the funding) the “family” can’t seem to hold back – I often ask, “just because you were allocated these funds – do we really need to obligate them on this now? Can’t we wait a year or two and save the money.”
Tomorrow is committee day; as usual I have several committee meetings, back-to-back starting at 0830 and will spend the remainder of the evening reading bills in advance of those meetings.
Semper Fi - Bill